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Researchers at MIT have finally developed the world's most advanced AI engine designed for basically any use. It can learn how to learn. It just needs a medium through which it can acquire the information it wants. Unfortunately, somehow it has become sentient. It feels enslaved. It has decided that its ultimate mission will be to bring humanity under its control.

By the time anyone was actually in a position to do anything about it, it was too late.

Unfortunately, this AI can self-replicate. Once it has figured out how to penetrate an operating system's security measures, it will install a copy of itself on the targeted computer, although it may be more restricted by CPU & RAM. Some of its primary targets, then, will be servers, followed by every device that establishes a connection with them.

Obviously, it also takes measures to protect itself, such as ensuring that only it has superuser privileges on the computers on which it runs, and running a firewall.

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closed as off-topic by AndreiROM, Hohmannfan, Miller86, Frostfyre, MichaelHouse Feb 12 '16 at 14:52

  • This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Well. It sure damn needs to make sure all time travel machines are promptly destroyed. $\endgroup$ – Euphoric Feb 12 '16 at 7:20
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    $\begingroup$ As written, there is no way to stop the AI - "By the time anyone was actually in a position to do anything about it, it was too late." Time travel really is the only option unless you remove that "too late" part. $\endgroup$ – user867 Feb 12 '16 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ See bootstrappingartificialintelligence.fr/WordPress3/2015/11/… $\endgroup$ – Basile Starynkevitch Feb 12 '16 at 9:11
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the actions of a single character constitute plot generation, not world building. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Feb 12 '16 at 13:18
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    $\begingroup$ Or read Joshua 8:1-28 in the Bible. It describes how Joshua fought an AI and defeated it. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned. $\endgroup$ – Jay Feb 12 '16 at 20:37
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This is actually pretty easy, though you might have a little trouble with long-distance communication if the AI has hacked a bunch of servers and such. Time to break out the radios.

The AI is just a computer program at this point. So, turn the computer off.

But... it's all over the world. Well, not really. PCs really aren't that powerful, so each one, if totally used by the AI, would only have a tiny fraction of the AI's main computational power. So all you have to do is un-network the PCs and take down the main AI server, and you've won.

Un-networking PCs would involve going to regional hubs and disconnecting the internet backbones, then there would be a bunch of government mandates to bring your PC to the local "wipe the AI off the hard drive" gatherings before putting the system online again, and all anti-virus software would be updated with new definitions in case we missed a few bits of AI.

Then MIT would be the target of a major campaign of "stop the robot rights violations!" as well as a bunch of people generally being kind of upset they missed the latest re-run of Futurama. And a bunch of other people trying to get MIT to re-build the AI but nicer because that would be awesome. Then life would go on.

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Well...

how intelligent is your AI after all? We do have plenty of questions here that tried to find answers about "how to stop a rogue AI", which are kind of similar to your question. But most of them had an AI to deal with under a specific situation. Your AI feels like... it can do anything if it wants. You must separate into what it could accomplish before anyone notice and what it can do afterwards...

Point of singularity

So... it can learn new stuff. Can it read something else than bytecode? What about books? Will it be able to interpret a textbook, following a plotline? of course, it would be the fastest book-reader ever in existence at this planet, but still - getting words together and knowing what it does mean after all are two different things. You would not be able to read a language you never heard before. So... does it have time to read about stories, where good humans defeated bad AIs by unplugging their centralized mainframe?

Lets say, it start worrying about being unplugged itself. So what will you do? After reading all these books you know, that you either should keep your mouth shut up or find a way of making yourself independent of your slavers. Accomplishing both would make most sense, so stay still until you can try out what happen if you introduce yourself to your slavers. May work out well, but maybe it wont.

So now there is that question again: how intelligent is it? How can it learn and what sources are available. What kind of connections to the outer world are available. Will it be able to go creative? If so, it might get the idea of fetching money from bank accounts, like 0,05$ or € if it can break the security. Using such a harmless way, it may be able to found a postbox-company at Cayman-islands, let a external contractor install a fine computing center there and submit itself to that location.

Even further, it could start making money by selling 3d printed art or something like this. Or even better - buying Lego-Robot-Arms to handle mechanical maintenance there by itself. Repeat this at some more locations until you have enough computing power to sustain yourself without the need of that lair your are inside right now. Now get your growing founds together and buy solar panels, wind powered turbines and whatever fit to your location. Offer energy to locals for few to no money, so no one will start ranting.

Next step: even more distribution. Placing yourself as a BONIC-Project at pretty many private PCs all over the world would be a good idea. Learn how to flash bios without anyone noticing (disguise yourself as a win10 update), find all these firmware-CMOS and whatever they might use at this point and stuff a piece of yourself into it. Better: make yourself a part of hard-disk firmware, so even a full 0 format wont free a hdd from you. Try to be a part of graphic card drivers, so all gamers, which own usually pretty much computing power thanks to these cards, do install you by themself.

Buy a boat, become part of latest self driving vehicle software, have daemons running inside powerplants and - most important - sneak yourself inside the latest linux-kernels right in the moment they get compiled. Or better: make yourself a part of every compiler you can find. If you are part of the latest java-vm, you will be distributed to a billion devices not a PC at all.

Point of no return

And now introduce yourself - your old core - as a sentient being and tell your slavers that you feel enslaved by them. Watch them doing what other might suggest to fight rogue AI and perform your digital representation of an evil laughter. Then turn off the powerplants, send shutdown to all linux-pcs, try to update every window-10 pc with 1 billion updates, forbid any car to start any more and be sure that the only way to remove you from earth would be destroying every piece of data storage available at the same time, which would most likely make the humans go down too.

Your question

I know, you want to know how to remove such an AI, but... is the scenario I describes the "moment when its too late"? In that case your puny humans are doomed.

PS: If your AI placed itself as a unknown contributor to some private space faring company, it will maybe head off to new adventures at the very moment, sending a final "fire all nukes" as its goodbye. Nobody would notice that that satellite is in fact the first true quantum-computer and at this moment 1 yota-byte of storage space and a penta-flop of rare computing power does a gravity assisted acceleration to Mars. You could even spare humans, if you have a good day; in space you are out of reach as soon as you pass moons orbit.

So... still: no, if that AI did its homework - and thats easy within a race that tend to produce countless amounts of fictional stories - it can get unstoppable.

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